US says Iran’s behavior ‘not positive’

Iranian school girls raise their palms with Persian that reads, “death to America,” during an anti-American rally in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. (AP)

While Washington does not regard Tehran’s “Death to America” slogan as an official Iranian policy, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday that the US still views the Islamic republic’s behavior in the region as “not positive.”

Thousands of Iranians chanted “Death to America” in the capital Tehran on Thursday, marking the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the US embassy by students. Fifty-two Americans were taken as captives for 444 days following the embassy seizure, leading to what was later known as the hostage crisis.

For Iranians, the day is officially known as the “National Day of Fight against Global Arrogance.”

Asked about Iran’s “Death to American” slogan, Toner said the anniversary of this day “brings out the overhyped rhetoric on the part of many in the Iranian government.”

“We don’t necessarily want to engage in all the various statements that are made on a day like today,” he said. “Like any country, there’s heated political rhetoric that comes out.”

Toner further emphasized when he said “I’m just not going to respond to every instance of that in this case,” and that the Obama’s administration does not consider “Death to America” to be an Iranian policy.

But he said: “What I would say is we continue to see Iranian behavior in the region that is, frankly, not positive, that is unconstructive.”

Toner also rejected Iran’s involvement in both Yemen and the Syrian conflict.

During the anniversary day, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told an audience of thousands of students  “in any part of the world when a nation stands up against a tyrant government, its first slogan is ‘Death to the US’.”

Khamenei also described Americans as “dishonest, unreliable, deceptive, back stabbers.”

The Ayatollah also said the mastermind behind the attack was Ayatollah Sayyid Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 revolution.

Khamenei also asked Iran’s minister of education to include the event in schools’ curriculum.

Obama extends national emergency on Iran

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama extended on Thursday Washington’s state of national emergency with respect to Iran, which was originally placed on Tehran in light of the hostage crisis in November 1979.

In a letter to Congress, Obama wrote: “Our relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal, and the process of implementing the agreements with Iran, dated Jan. 19, 1981, is still under way.”

 

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